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VMware boss Paul Maritz is reportedly stepping down

Whoa, it has been quite a day for changes in the executive offices. First, Marissa Mayer takes over the helm of Yahoo. And now reports are circulating that Paul Maritz, the CEO of VMware, is stepping down.

There’s no official word on VMware’s Web site, and the company isn’t commenting. The news was first reported today by the tech publication CRN, citing multiple sources familiar with the situation.

A former Microsoft exec who maintains a residence in the Seattle area, Maritz is reportedly passing the CEO reins at the virtualization giant to EMC Chief Operating Officer Pat Gelsinger.  EMC owns 80 percent of VMware, a publicly-traded company with a market value of $36 billion.

Adding more intrigue to the rumblings is the fact that EMC CEO Joe Tucci is slated to retire, with TechCrunch speculating that Maritz could be in line for that job. EMC has a market value of $49 billion.

Maritz also has been discussed as the possible CEO of Cloud Foundry, an open source platform-as-a-service that was conceived at VMware. Earlier on Monday, GigaOm reported that VMware was considering spinning out the Cloud Foundry business, making it a separate company attached to EMC’s Greenplum and Project Rubicon efforts.

There are certainly a lot of moving parts on this rumor, and the only possibility we haven’t heard is a possible return by Maritz to Microsoft. He worked at Microsoft from 1986 to 2000 where he served as executive vice president of the Platforms Strategy and Developer Group. It seems unlikely that a Microsoft move would be in the works, but stranger things have happened. (After all, we never saw the Marissa Mayer appointment coming).

After Microsoft, Maritz co-founded the Seattle startup Pi Corp., which was later purchased by EMC.

What will be interesting to watch is whether Maritz returns to Seattle for the next chapter in his career. More details may emerge on the situation on July 23rd when VMware reports earnings.

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